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Creativity abounds at Hoglan STEAM Night

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Remote-controlled robots were among the biggest attractions at the Hoglan Elementary STEAM night Thursday.

The acronym STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) has become a common word in the Marshalltown community with efforts to increase education in those areas at Marshalltown Schools.

Adding art into the mix, making STEAM, opens the flow of creativity. That was the goal of this week’s STEAM Night at Hoglan Elementary School. A team of teachers and staff coordinated the event.

“They had a lot of integration of technology throughout the event, which the kids loved,” said Hoglan Principal Amy Williams. “Any time we’re able to host a family event at our neighborhood school, it’s an opportunity for our families and students to interact with our staff in a different way.”

Students and their families explored many activities which combined science and art. In one, students drew freehand paths on paper with special markers. Small robots called Ozobots were coded to follow the markers’ paths, sometimes with special moves and tricks.

“I’m coloring and then I’m going to put a robot on it,” said Hoglan second grader Richard Ritter, Jr. of his Ozobot drawing. “I want to do the turbos and the tornado.”

Fellow Hoglan student Londyn Senethavysouk said she is interested in science and enjoyed STEAM Night.

“I think robots are cool. They help you do tons of things that should be impossible,” the third grader said.

Another activity where hard science met creativity was in Hoglan’s new Makers Space. There, students built houses out of newspapers and tested the structures’ integrity against the “big bad wolf” hairdryer, which tried to blow the houses down.

In another area, students were provided cardboard and some duct tape – they were free to create and design with those simple materials.

Williams said events like STEAM Night not only bring great joy to students and their families, but also allow students to practice key skills.

“It’s really giving them exposure and preparing them for the future that’s in front of us,” she said.

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The arts and sciences combined in this activity, where students drew out a path using special markers. They watched gleefully as small robots followed the paths they drew.